Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire, founded in 1916 to tackle the great killer disease of tuberculosis, is famous for carrying out the UK's first heart transplant operation in 1979. It followed this up not only with many other heart transplants but also with the UK's first heart and lung operation in 1984 and the world's first heart, lung and liver transplant in 1986.
With unique access to Papworth's archives, historian Peter Pugh here tells the story of this ground-breaking hospital for the first time. Alongside the background to that first UK heart transplant — and the ethical controversies that surrounded it — Pugh explores the opposition to heart operations in general, Papworth's difficulties dealing with NHS authorities especially over funding, and the discussions for over 50 years as to whether the hospital should move alongside Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge.
As an insight into the history of medicine and surgery in the UK, as well as a story literally of life and death, The Heart of the Matter will be compelling reading.